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How to Plan a Wedding on a £20,000 Budget

The average cost of a wedding is £20,700 but where does that money go? From the invites to the entertainment, here's a full wedding budget breakdown for 20k

Newlywed bride and groom smiling in a coupe after getting married

Wedding planning on a budget can be stressful, but the right cost calculations can make the process a lot simpler. Fortunately, here at Hitched we like to think of ourselves as the budget experts of weddings. So, if you’ve got a £20,000 wedding budget in the UK but and don't know how to spend it , our wedding budget breakdown for £20,000 is here to help.

Our National Weddings Survey revealed that the average wedding cost in 2024 is £20,700. So, theoretically, a £20,000 wedding budget in the UK will cover you. However, it's still very important to do your research, hear multiple quotes, and spend your money wisely, investing in your priorities and ensuring your wedding suits your needs. 

That’s why we’ve planned an example wedding with a £20,000 wedding budget - from wedding hair to the honeymoon, here's how to plan your dream wedding without spending a penny over your budget.

Planning a Wedding for £20,000

Remember - this is just a guide, designed to help you plan in accordance with a strict wedding budget, but feel free to change up your budget as you see fit! Every wedding is different, so if you want to spend more on one element of your wedding and less on another, that's your right to do so. So, without further ado, here is our example wedding budget breakdown for a £20,000 spend.

So if you're wondering 'can you have a wedding for £20,000?', read on to discover a guide on how to do it...

Wedding Venue – £4,500

With a £20,000 wedding budget, UK venues can become quite exciting. That's because you have a nice amount of money to play with, and plenty of options available to you. Remember, you don't have to spend that much on your venue, especially if you discover the perfect one for fraction of the price.

You can always re-allocate some of this money to a different section of your wedding budget by opting for a more extravagant wedding cake or more live entertainment, for example. But if this £4,500 does suit your budget, we think these options are particularly wonderful. For more inspiration, check out the most popular wedding venues in the UK

Sudeley Castle - Gloucestershire

Long tables dressed for a wedding in a glass conservatory, extending on from an ancient church

For couples that want a modern twist on something traditional, Sudeley Castle is a perfect choice. Set on over 1,200 acres, the venue boasts a romantic chapel filled with history and charm, as well as a glass conservatory extension that floods the venue with light.

With a starting price of £4,500, it could fit right within £20,000 wedding budget in the UK, and couples will love exchanging vows in front of their family and friends amongst the rolling hills and spectacular gardens. 

  • Capacity: 2-450
  • Pricing: £4,500

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Farnham Castle - Surrey

Entire bridal party sat in the garden in front of a stately wedding venue smiling, laughing and waving at the camera

Located on the Surrey and Hampshire border, Farnham Castle is closely conveniently close to London for travelling guests, whilst still retaining the peaceful tranquility of the countryside. Ideal for weddings big or small, this venue comes with romantic features like a White Rose Garden and a stately Lantern Hall, so couples can get married surrounded by historic beauty.

Plus, with costs starting from £4,000, this venue comes in below the maximum spend for couples planning a £20,000 budget wedding in the UK!

  • Capacity: 30-265
  • Pricing: £4,000
  • Deals: For £9,500, this venue runs a Winchester Wedding Package which provides everything a couple will need from a venue to tie the knot in front of 50 guests. Check out their listing for more details! 

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The Hoxton - London

Two long dark wood tables in a chic London hotel dressed for a wedding in pink, earthy tones

City-dwellers rejoice - we've found one of the chicest London wedding venues in the city. Situated a stone's throw from Notting Hill, The Hoxton at Shepherd's Bush is a stylish hotel features modern, warm decor and bright pops of colour throughout its modern interiors. Perfect for nearlyweds inviting guests from far and wide, this venue offers convenience and class all rolled into one.

And with prices starting from just £3,000, it could be the inexpensive London wedding venue you've been looking for!

  • Capacity: 2-100
  • Pricing: £3,000

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Ceremony Fees – £500

Whether you are having five guests or 500 guests, the price of your ceremony fees will always be around £400-£500 so you should always budget for this. This pays for the cost of your registrar and marriage licence if you are having a civil ceremony.

So, when working out how much a wedding should cost, this is one factor that remains the same for every budget. You also need to think about the costs associated with giving notice.

The Wedding Dress, Shoes & Accessories – £1,300

When planning a wedding, choosing the perfect wedding dress, along with shoes and accessories is an exciting, yet potentially expensive task. Luckily, with a £1,300 budget, nearlyweds should be able to achieve the vision of their dreams, if they're planning to have a wedding dress.

If you're not having a wedding dress, feel free to re-distribute this budget - you could add  it to your venue or entertainment spends, for example.

As always, we think purchasing shoes that you can wear again is a no-brainer, unless you have your heart set on a particular pair, of course. Or even reusing some shoes you love, to make that money work harder.

Also, the perfect accessories really can be purchased for a pretty low price. Monsoon and Accessorize create beautiful wedding accessories like embellished hair clasps and clutch bags for under £100, and they won’t let you down. 

If you are careful with your shoes and accessories, you can then have fun using most of your budget for finding the perfect dress. With a little extra cash, any unforeseen alterations or adjustments won’t take you by surprise.

Here are some of our favourite wedding dress shops that offer an intimate, one-to-one experience to nearlyweds after the perfect dress for around £1,000. 

Little London Brides - Hampshire

Bride in a wedding dress boutique having her straps adjusted in a white lace wedding dress

Little London Brides is an award-winning boutique that offers nearlyweds an exclusive and private dress fitting experience. With a range of fresh and modern looks available, the team has a wide array of silhouettes and styles available to suit everyone's tastes. Founded by a mother-daughter duo, this boutique is perfect for those wanting to support family-owned vendors. 

  • Pricing: £1,200
  • Deals: Couples who book with Hitched can enjoy a 5% discount on their dress. 

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Nuziale Bridal Boutique - Northumberland

Long white sleeveless wedding dress on a mannequin in a wedding dress shop

For nearlyweds who want a little 'La Dolce Vita' on their wedding day, this Nuziale Bridal Boutique is just the ticket. Inspired by European designers with a focus on Italian craftsmanship, the boutique features brands like Nicole Milano and Luna Novias. 

  • Pricing: £1,100
  • Deals: Couples who book with Hitched can enjoy a 5% discount on their dress. 

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Emily James Bridal - Kent

store-front of a bridal boutique with a wedding dress and a suit in the shop window

For nearlyweds after a one-to-one experience when finding the perfect dress, Emily James Bridal is a wonderful choice. Not only do they offer a selection of classic designs that will never go out of style, but the boutique also has a 'preloved' selection of ex-sample designs, ideal for couples wanting to take a more sustainable route when planning their wedding.

  • Pricing: £1,000
  • Deals: Couples who book with Hitched can enjoy a 10% discount on their dress. 

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Entertainment – £900

The average amount couples spent on a wedding DJ in 2023 was £670, which is actually under budget for our £20,000 budget wedding. You’ll have some money leftover to either allocate elsewhere, or spend on another form of fun like a magician or a caricaturist! Fortunately, we have lots of ideas on how to entertain your wedding guests

You could even consider spending the entire £900 on a DJ package which includes some extras, as the best vendors will play a huge role in setting the tone for the evening. They can help by introducing the couple to the dance floor for their first dance, encouraging all the guests to get on their feet, and often come with their own lighting and set-up so you don’t need to worry about a thing. 

Chat to your partner to decide what matters most to you when deciding how to spend your entertainment budget. If it’s music, then decide if you want a DJ or a live band. But if you’re content with shuffling your favourite tunes, then you can have lots of fun with other artistic and creative vendors.

Live wedding entertainment, such as a wedding band, can cost more, so you might have to move some money around to achieve that.

Bridesmaid Dresses – £500

According to our National Wedding Survey, the average number of bridesmaids in the UK is three, and allocating £500 towards bridesmaid dresses is a very generous price to fit in with your £20,000 budget. Not only will this allow your bridesmaids to consider more premium brands like Ghost or Rewritten, but you’ll also be able to afford tailoring to achieve that perfect fit.

You also have the option to rent from platforms like HURR Collective, particularly if you have your heart set on a particular style from a luxury designer for your bridesmaids. Be sure to also consider the season of your wedding, as if you're planning a winter celebration then you will want to allocate some budget to providing a warm layer to your bridesmaids too like a faux-fur stole or a shawl. 

Equally, if you've found your dream bridesmaid dresses on the high-street and you have money leftover, why not pick up some fun matching robes for the morning of your wedding? Getting ready together in hair and make-up dressed in matching loungewear can make for wonderful pre-wedding photographs, and starts the day off on a special note. 

Groomswear – £400

The couple’s attire is an essential part of the wedding day, and you don't have to go over budget to look sharp. With a £400 budget, consider purchasing or renting a suit instead of going for a bespoke option. This is especially helpful if you’re planning a more formal wedding where men are required to wear tails, as it may not be worth purchasing something you might only wear once or twice. 

You can also consider investing in individual pieces such as a well-tailored blazer or well-fitted trousers that you can wear again in the future. And when it comes to accessories such as cufflinks or pocket squares, be mindful of luxury brands with high price tags and consider less expensive options that still look great.

Also, if your heart is set on a designer suit and you don’t want to rent, check out the outlet centres. They often stock last year’s collection at a much more affordable price.

Another option for saving money involves asking any members of the wedding party who will wear a suit to wear one they already own, then supplying them with matching ties. 

If your wedding doesn't involve any suits, you can fold this budget into something else to suit your needs!

Hair and Makeup – £400

When it comes to allocating your budget for hair and makeup, a £400 budget can go a long way - if you plan wisely. To make the most of your budget, consider opting for a trial run session with potential beauticians to get a sense of their style and expertise. Before doing this, here are some things you need to know before your hair and make-up trial.

This will help you choose someone who aligns with your vision and also fits within your budget. Look out for the ‘deals’ tag on Hitched, as it highlights vendors who offer package deals or bundles on their services.

Also, when chatting with a beautician, it’s best to be open and clear about your budget upfront. That way, the vendor can offer suggestions and alternatives that suit how much you want to spend, so everyone’s happy. 

On average in 2023, nearlyweds spent £190 on their own wedding hair/makeup, and £110 per bridesmaid on their beauty. You can always ask your bridesmaids to do their own hair and makeup, but make sure they know this upfront to avoid surprising them or stressing anyone out. Our proposed spend of £400 pretty much covers one bride and two bridesmaids. 

Again, if you don't need this in your wedding budget, fold this spend into something else!

Wedding Cake – £500

At Hitched, “how much does a wedding cake cost?” is a question that we get asked a lot! Fortunately, with a £500 budget, you'll have some decent options to choose from. The average price of a wedding cake in the UK can vary depending on some key factors, so we’ve got some top tips on keeping your wedding cake within budget. 

Firstly, consider the size of your guest list and go for a smaller cake, as this can lower the cost and reduce food waste. Also, choose simpler designs and decorations as intricate details can be more expensive. Sometimes, opting for a buttercream frosting instead of fondant can also help you save money. 

But once again, when discussing your budget with a bakery, be upfront about what you're looking to spend. Many bakeries can offer suggestions on how to achieve your dream wedding cake within your budget, such as using faux layers or incorporating fresh flowers instead of sugar flowers. Here are a few of our best vendors that fit perfectly within a £500 budget.

Of course, if you want a more intricately decorated or larger cake, you will need to move some money around!

Cocobelle Wedding Cakes - Durham

two-tier simple cream wedding cake decorated with cream roses and greenery on a white background

Based in Durham, Cocobelle's is a delicious wedding cake bakery that prides itself in offering a long list of flavours and customisable designs. For nearlyweds after a clean and modern aesthetic on their big day, this bakery can certainly fit the brief whilst keeping to your budget.

  • Pricing: From £350
  • Deals: Couples who book with Hitched can enjoy a 10% discount.

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Danielles Cakes - Worcestershire

three-tier buttercream wedding cake decorated with pink, yellow and cream flowers in front of a window

Based in Worcestershire, Danielles Cakes is a luxurious wedding cake bakery that offers a range of finishes from buttercream and ganache to fondant and meringue-based buttercreams. And with prices from £350, her cakes fit perfectly within a £20,000 wedding budget in the UK.

  • Pricing: £350 

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Beth Bakes - Shropshire

three-tier cream fondant wedding cake decorated with cream roses in a grand room

Located in Shropshire, Beth Bakes is a bakery that prides itself on creating award-winning luxury wedding cakes with "wow factor!". With over 14 years of experience, Beth loves to hear the couple's story and learn about their preferences when helping them to design the cake, so it feels a little more personal. And as a fully-trained chef, you'll be in good hands when she's in the kitchen!

  • Pricing: From £300

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Wedding Photographer – £1,500

Every couple’s big day is going to be memorable, but at the end of it, it’s the pictures that last a lifetime. Fortunately, a £1,500 photographer for a £20,000 budget wedding will afford a wonderful wedding photographer who will document the day in the style that the couple desires. 

We have over 1,200 wedding photographers on Hitched with starting prices between £800 and £1,200. There are over 1,000 who have starting prices over £1,200 - so if you have more budget to spare or want to invest in more services, you'll find something to suit. 

Your level of coverage will depend on what you are willing to spend, why we recommend having a proper chat with a few photographers to see examples of their previous work, compare their rates, and see how you gel with them. After all, you’ll need this person to blend seamlessly into your crowd of guests, so you’ll want to get on with them relatively well.

You should also ask to see their portfolio before putting down a deposit, as every photographer has a slightly different style. You can also try and show your photographer the types of pictures you want to help them see your vision, and they’ll be able to tell you if that's their style, or perhaps recommend someone who is more suitable.

If you're still struggling to decide on a vendor, check our process for choosing the perfect wedding photographer.

Wedding Flowers & Decoration – £1,500

At Hitched, we’d encourage couples to consider their wedding flowers budget and their decorations budget in unison, as they tend to work as one - so you can. Now, one question we’re asked a lot is “how much do wedding flowers cost?

There are many factors to consider when pricing up flowers for a wedding, but our best advice would be to talk to your wedding florist about what is in season, and think about how to get strategic with your flowers - using 'filler' plants like ivy and other greenery can work out cheaper.

Fortunately, a budget of £1,500 is certainly enough to create something beautiful, particularly if you combine your flower budget with the price of your decorations. You can also reuse your wedding party bouquets in your wedding reception decor to make the money go further!

When planning your wedding decor, consider the basics like chair covers, tablecloths, and centerpieces, as these are essential to create an attractive layout.

These often come with the cost of the venue, so just be sure to check before you sign on the dotted line. As for the extras, simple wedding centrepiece ideas like candles in glass bottles can help to keep the cost down. If you’re keen to keep the decorating to a minimal, choose a venue that has lots of striking decor, as it would require less decoration.

Paper lanterns, bunting, and greenery can look stunning while also being affordable. 

Here are some of our favourite florists that fit nicely in a £20,000 wedding budget in the UK.

Ash Tree Floral Designs - Worcestershire

three bridesmaids and a bride holding a autumnal bouquets of wedding flowers dressed in dark green

This quirky wedding florist, Ash Tree Floral Designs, creates beautiful, seasonal and sustainable bouquets for brides that want to make a statement. For a seamless experience, we recommend checking out their 'Ready to Wed' wedding flower packages to tick off all your wedding flower needs.

  • Pricing: £650

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The Freshford Florist - Bath

Bride holding a colourful bouquet hugging a wedding guest outside of a stately building

The Freshford Florist specialises in wild floristry that captures the magic of the garden in every bouquet. With options and arrangements available throughout the seasons, this vendor prides itself in being able to create bouquets to suit the couple's style and colour preferences.

  • Pricing: £800
  • Deals: Couples tying the knot in spring can enjoy a free bridesmaid bouquet when booking with this vendor. 

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Petals and Posies - Southampton

A bride and her bridesmaids dressed in lilac holding green, lilac and purple bouquets

From rustic and wild to elegant and sleek, Petals and Posies are ready and waiting to help you with all your wedding flower needs. From bouquets and floral cake decorations to wedding-car florals, nothing is out of the question with this Hampshire-based florist. 

  • Pricing: £800

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Wedding Catering – £6,000

Any couple planning a wedding will know that the wedding catering is one of the biggest spends, but lots of venues offer a wedding package that includes catering for a set number of guests, so you can combine your catering and venue budget if you go for that.

A budget of £6,000 means you are able to cater to 50 guests at £120 a head, which should afford each person canapés, bubbly to toast, a three-course meal and wine for the table. This budget would also stretch to a larger party of 100 guests, as £60 per guest is still doable with some careful menu selections.

This section is part of a much bigger conversation, so for more tips check out our complete guide to wedding catering.

Honeymoon – £2,000

With a £2,000 budget, there are lots of amazing and affordable honeymoon destinations available. But with so many ways to get brilliant deals on luxury holidays, it’s worth spending some time and effort on finding the perfect package. 

Some popular destinations that can fall within this budget include Bali, Thailand, Mexico, Greece, and Portugal. If you’re keen to go further afield without breaking the bank, look for off-peak travel times or consider traveling during the shoulder seasons when prices are typically lower. 

To keep costs low, consider opting for boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, or vacation rentals instead of high-end resorts. These places often provide a little more privacy too, which can feel more romantic. Another tip is to book your flights and accommodations well in advance to take advantage of early bird offers and discounts. 

All in all, after planning a wedding you’ll probably want to kick back and relax. So rather than planning all the components of your honeymoon separately, we’d urge you to consider a package holiday. Not only are they simpler to manage, but they often offer the best price.

Total – £20,000

Still deciding on your budget? Here's our guide to making a wedding budget